Christmas Glory in Thuringia
Christmas approaches inescapably every year. The Advent season calls for cosy evenings. Fairy lights and candles burning, Christmas music playing softly in the background. A glass of hot punch or mulled wine in your hand, home-made biscuits or a piece of chrisamel – sorry, that’s the local word for stollen. A couple of glass baubles are hanging in front of the window, the Advent wreath has also been adorned with glass decorations. Perfect.
That is what we imagine a successful winter’s evening to be like. And the evening also features a lot of tradition and craft from Thuringia – from the drinks to the Christmas sounds and the tree ornaments.
Stroll through our decorated towns, experience Christmas crafts, get excited about Thuringian traditions and enjoy a cosy and relaxed end to the year. Here – in Thuringia.
Our Christmas traditions
Imagine a snowy winter’s day. A little town nestling in a picturesque valley. The surrounding ridges covered in dense pine forests, a dusting of snow on the branches of the trees. The lights of the houses twinkle in the darkness. Behind some of the windows there is a buzz of activity as sparkling Christmas baubles are crafted by hand. Sounds like a scene from a fairytale? Not quite …
At first glance, it’s impossible to tell what the delicate Christmas tree ornaments are made of. It can’t be plastic, they look too classy for that. They’re incredibly light, but not as fragile as glass ornaments. In the period after 1815, the Steinach region got its big break, all thanks to a remarkable material – papier mâché. The MAROLIN works continue to preserve this traditional craft in Steinach today.
The small towns along the Rennsteig Trail – Lauscha, Steinheid and Neuhaus – have always been closely associated with the art of glassblowing. Almost everyone who lived there used to have some connection with the glassblowing trade. Helmut Bartholmes’ family, which has been producing glass Christmas tree ornaments for five generations, is no exception. His story illustrates the importance and the value of this heritage, and shows how it is being preserved and passed on in the 21st century.
Why is Thuringia known as the ‘land of Christmas’? It’s quite simple: many festive traditions that are now popular all over the world originated here. From the Christmas tree and glass baubles to Christmas carols. But what else makes Christmas here so special? Read on to find out!
Whether cinnamon stars, poinsettias or Herrnhut stars ... Without them, Christmas season just doesn’t feel right. One of the most famous stars is the Froebel star. It decorates windows, arrangements and Christmas trees. Ever tried making one yourself?
Elfi Bartholmes carefully draws her fine paintbrush over a glass sphere. With a steady hand, she decorates the Christmas tree ornaments that her father produces using traditional skills. His family has been running the Thüringer Weihnacht glassblowing workshop for five generations. Elfi is one of the women who are keeping the specialised craft of glass painting alive. Well over a hundred years ago, it was also mainly women who made these glass Christmas decorations such a worldwide success.
Our Christmas excitements
It simply wouldn't be Christmas without the smell of roasted almonds, a nice hot drink with friends and shopping for regional craft goods. In Thuringia, you will find Christmas markets in impressive settings, in castle courtyards, tucked away in wintry forests or accompanied by your favourite fairytale characters. So why not join us for the most wonderful time of the year!
What would Christmas be without a decorated conifer? The Christmas tree ornaments are the centre of attention. We are on the way to Lauscha, the place where Christmas tree baubles originated. However, it is not just because of the popular Christmas decorations that Lauscha stands for all kinds of brilliance, as traditional glass craftsmanship plays an extraordinarily important role here.
Our Christmas treats
When the dough, made from yeast and local flour, is kneaded together with all the other delicious ingredients, baked in the oven and left to mature, it tastes so good! As only the original stollen can. By that, we mean the stollen we know and love today.
Christmas season has started, snowflakes are falling, it’s time for us to get comfortable at home. Just for that, we went and visit four of Thuringia’s most amazing Coffee shops and baked, together with our hosts, the most delicious cakes. Now it is time for us to share those four secret recipes with you, while explaining step by step how you can bake them at home for you, your friends, and families. So, let’s start and have some fun!
How about having your very own Christmas market at home? We have all kinds of delicious treats available so that you can enjoy the authentic taste of Thuringia within your own four walls. From wonderfully hearty to indulgently sweet – there is something here to suit every taste. Come and join us on a festive journey of culinary delights!